If you're coming on a ski holiday then presumably you are coming to ski?
To get the most out of your skiing the quality of your equipment cannot be overstated. Don't settle for old rubbish, badly fitting or poorly serviced.
The age, the fit, the suitability and the condition of the equipment are all essential if you're to have any chance of really enjoying and developing your skiing. Proper ski and boot hire is not simple and straight forward, it requires a high degree of technical knowledge, experience and input to get it correct. Ski shops are NOT all the same.
Unfortunately these days ski hire, like many other things, is dominated by interfering middlemen trying to profiteer from something that they know nothing about. The internet's awash with ski hire sites, and many of the big tour operators and travel agents will try to sell you ski hire as well.
These middlemen can't deliver the proper advice, equipment or personalized technical service that are essential to getting your equipment right.
They’ve effectively taken all of the quality, individuality and service out of ski hire and created a commodity culture that's all about cost - much to the detriment of all skiers.
Snowberry is proud to be one of the few truly independent and highly specialist shops left in the game. We are not affiliated to any middlemen organizations. Snowberry ski hire is ONLY available directly through Snowberry so we control every aspect of the delivery and quality.
We're NOT the same as the rest, so do yourself a favour and rent the best and newest equipment that you can get, it makes a big difference - it's a SKIING holiday after all!
At Snowberry we are totally open and honest about the age of equipment we rent. We offer two similar ranges of equipment for adults – Premium and Economy - and you choose depending on the age and the level of discount you wish. Both ranges have gear suitable for beginner to expert.
All Premium Gear is guaranteed to be new - current models - at the beginning of this season - 2016-17.
Our Economy Gear is last season's Premium Gear - so is guaranteed no older than one season's use.
Unlike every other shop we have no equipment older than this as we believe very strongly that you should always ski on the newest equipment that you can. New gear is far more responsive, comfortable and safer and will greatly enhance yor skiing experience.
And for Junior Skiers we offer one range with equipment for the youngest skier to junior pro level.
Our ‘Raison d’Etre’ - at Snowberry we strongly recommend that you ski on the newest equipment that you can get hold of – it makes such a massive difference!
For this reason we replace ALL of our premium stock with brand new equipment at the beginning of every season - that's over 800 pairs of skis and 500 pairs of boots.
No other shop in Val d'Isère comes close to this and you may have noticed that most other websites are pretty cagey about the age of their kit - "recent" does NOT mean new! Nor does "high end" or "top quality". If it WAS new, they would say so. In fact one site we know will rent you 8 season old gear.
Renting Snowberry premium skis is the only way you can rent GUARANTEED new 2016/17 skis.
As a specialist rental shop we carry a huge choice of top end skis from most of the major manufacturers thus we can offer skis for all ability levels and disciplines.
In fact we buy more MODELS of new skis every season than most other shops buy total new skis over their entire model range.
We have over 120 (yes 120) different models of brand new 2017 skis, covering all levels and disciplines. Again, no other shop comes close to offering that much choice.
And our skis are the real thing, not cheap rental models and we also buy new skis across the entire ability range from beginner to expert level with plenty of options in the less popular very short and very long lengths too.
One other area that is very often ignored or misunderstood is the frequency and quality of the equipment servicing. A poorly serviced ski is just a complete waste of time and money – often unskiable.
It's easy to assume that wherever you rent from, your skis will have been properly serviced before you collect them. WRONG!
Many shops are quite happy to shine up the base of their skis with some wax every now and then- some of them don’t even have a workshop in Val d’Isere!
We don’t cut corners to cut costs, all of our skis are fully and properly serviced prior to every rental - even if the last customer only had them for half a day . . . .
Ski hire is not a commodity, it's not a question of where you can get the cheapest price as if it was a bag of sugar. Quality and service are vital. Look for value for money, not for a rock bottom price for rubbish!
Do not trust Tour Operator bus reps when they try to sell you ski hire - we can assure you they DO NOT have a clue what they are taking about, and will say what ever is needed to get a sale. One actually told us they were trained to "promise the world and deliver a tatty atlas".
It is absolutely essential that you rent the newest equipment that you can. So make sure that when you book your gear you are told exactly how old the equipment is. You are on a SKI HOLIDAY, don't waste it with unsuitable or even dangerous equipment.
Beware of misleading terms – top quality, latest, recent etc do not mean new. If it's new, it will say so!
If possible book your ski hire direct with the shop - they know their stock. In some resorts you may have no choice but to book through a third party site, be very wary that what they say may have to apply to hundreds of shops and will be very general.
Check that the shop you're renting from has a good reputation and especially check what level of rental boot-fitting they offer. Be particularly careful if you book with your tour operator, often they choose the shop that gives them the best deal, not you the best kit and service.
Watch the small print - beware of admin fees, card charges, ridiculous replacement costs or insurance excesses which are way out of proportion to the original cost of the kit or its age.
Beware of websites or tour operators that won't refund you on the spot if you return the hired equipment early or even don't take it in the first place. You'd be surprised how many supposedly reputable operations will try to keep your money.
If the agent or tour operator you pay for your ski hire doesn't ask you all sorts of info about your height, weight, ski ability etc etc, you're wasting your time and money! You are not BOOKING anything and the shop will more than likely not even know about you when you come in. All you have done is pay a third party months in advance.
Don't just believe an agent or tour operator if they say they are giving you a discount - sometimes they just outright LIE - check with the shop first how much they would charge you to rent direct.
Getting your boots right is easily the single most important aspect of your skiing equipment. It affects everything, your control, your edge grip, your confidence and therefore your development and enjoyment.
Renting ski boots is a bit like renting bowling shoes! Most ski shops just ask your shoe size (or if you’re lucky, measure one foot), and hand you a pair of boots. It’s a lottery and the chances are you're not the winner.
The boots you end up with are usually at least a size too big with absolutely no concern paid to your foot shape or volume. Then you wonder why your feet move around, you can’t control your skis or your feet hurt!
Boot-fitting is complicated and unfortunately proper boot-fitting in rental is a foreign word – it just does not exist.
At Snowberry we are very, very different. Because of our very strong background in high end boot-fitting we have developed our own very exclusive rental boot-fitting system . . .
Proper boot-fitting starts by stabilizing the foot and limiting the dynamic mobility of the foot which is the main limiting factor when trying to fit boots correctly. To do this we put Superfeet orthotics in every boot – free of charge!
It is absolutely correct to say that you cannot fit a ski boot correctly unless you first stabilize the foot using an orthotic. It just cannot be done.
The added benefits of foot stabilization include improved ski feeling and performance and improved comfort.
Snowberry are the only shop in Val d’Isere that use Superfeet orthotics in their boots. The others are just giving you a pair of boots. It'd not the same thing.
Step out of your front door and into one of our luxury Landovers - in just a couple of minutes you'll be stepping out again right by the front door of Snowberry.
Why trudge through the snow or queue for a bus when Snowberry courtesy transport is available all weekend long?
Give us a ring when you arrive - 06 16 28 50 08
We’re right next to the main lifts, bus stops and ski school meeting points.
And in the morning just get the free bus back to the shop, change into your boots and go skiing, leaving your shoes with us.
How convenient is that?
You don't even have to bring the kit back to us - we'll come and get it!
How cool is that?
Whether it's a scratch on the topsheet, a busted edge or a ski broken totally in two, unlike other shops we don't charge you a penny for damaged or broken skis.
THIS ONE'S A NO-BRAINER! Rent SNOWBERRY junior skis and we guarantee not only to give you their helmet free of charge, but to have one available too.
Rent from SNOWBERRY and return your hired equipment early for any reason whatsoever (even that you just don’t like skiing after all) - we will give you a full refund for the unused rental period. No conditions, no small print, no admin fee, no medical report needed. If only other shops were as honest!
Your skis are fully and freshly serviced before you collect them, but you're welcome to bring them in any time during your week for us to freshen up again so they're good as new.
Fair exchange is no robbery - or at least it shouldn't be! Change your kit as often as you like at Snowberry at no extra cost. Of course.
Mon - Thurs: 8:30 am - 7:00 pm / Fri: 8:30 am - 7:30 pm
Sat - Sun: 8:30 am - 8:00 pm
Important : Please note our opening will alter over Christmas / New Year due to Tour Operators' mid week arrival dates.
For reserving gear for in-shop fitting download our Excel booking form, fill it in, save it and email it back to Susan.
For information regarding in-chalet fitting availability please fill in the form below. Please do not send us a booking form for chalet fitting before checking availability with us as it is very limited.
Snowberry is a true Mountain Centre with some of the very best ski schools under one roof.
They are all based in our Rond Point des Pistes centre so if you’re having instruction with any of them what could be more convenient than hiring from Snowberry?
Sadly in the last few years ski hire like a lot of other things seems to have become little more than a commodity where the only relevant factor is the cheapest price!
Here at Snowberry we are totally against this commoditization of what is in our opinion a specialist product where the quality of the equipment, the technical knowledge and ability of the shop staff and the range of extra services offered make a massive difference not only to the customer's enjoyment and experience but on their actual ability to ski properly.
However even disregarding this and looking only at the cost involved, comparing ski hire prices between one shop and another is nowhere near as easy as it seems, for the pure and simple reason that you have to know what equipment you are being offered in order to compare LIKE WITH LIKE.
Other shops will generally make it pretty difficult for you to compare their equipment with ours because they are pretty cagey about telling you what you will actually be getting from them. They use words like "recent", "high quality" and so on to lead you to believe you are getting new, top of the range gear. The simple rule is - if it was new they would SAY it was new.
At Snowberry you are guaranteed booking from our premium range that you will be getting brand new skis for the 2016/17 season – and this is very important!
If you are looking on another shop's site and it doesn't say the skis are new (it won't!) then the best you can compare them with is our Economy kit which is only one season old. However most shops in town won't even guarantee that your skis will not be older than one year old (look in the small print and some say maximum two years or whatever, some say nothing) while some are still happily renting out skis that are 8 or more years old. So strictly speaking, you can't even compare that with the price of our Economy kit as it's likely to be a lot older.
Then there are the models offered. Most sites show you a small selection of sample popular and well known models in each range and hide "or similar" in the small print.
Often, however, they don't even carry the popular and well known current season's ski they photograph that you THINK you will be getting. When you arrive you are disappointed to be handed a three year old ski you have never heard of rather than the Rossi Hero in the picture.
And even if you do get the Rossi Hero in the picture, chances are you didn't realize when you saw the picture that it wasn't the Hero ST TI which is the proper high end ski with titanium layers you were expecting but the plain Hero ST which is a much lower level ski.
You've been conned!
At Snowberry we have over 120 models of brand new ski for the 2016/17 season and we show every single one of them, along with the technical specs etc, on our site. We don't HAVE any other skis so if you book from our premium range you WILL get one of the skis shown. You can even request a specific model, and we will move heaven and earth to get it for you.
The long and the short of it - there really is no price comparison between a guaranteed brand new Rossi Hero ST TI and something that is "similar" to a ski that looks like the Hero ST TI but isn't and is 5 years old.
Then there is the comparison between categories and this is hard. All shops have different categories of ski according to ability levels but there is no common industry standard so all shops call their categories different things and aim them at different ability levels of skier. You might find gold, five star, premium, excellence, expert, advanced, red, black and many other names all used for skis for more or less the same ability level. Where do you start?
You'll also find that some shops have fewer options in terms of ranges than others and it's easy to assume that everyone's top level of skis (whatever they call them) is more or less the same.
However again that's wrong. At Snowberry we have five different ability levels of adult skis in our premium range alone and the top level of what's on offer on most other sites corresponds to roughly our middle category - so don't expect it to compare price-wise to our top level premium test skis which are something no other shop in town offers!
The other confusion though is that sometimes shops use names for their categories that are pretty much DESIGNED to mislead you. One big chain for example uses "black" as the name for what is actually a lower intermediate level. And unless they show you the different models of skis included in each range and you actually know what they all are, how are you supposed to know any better?
Unless the shop makes it clear exactly what you will be getting in each category and what age it is online, and guarantees that's what you will get, it's pretty hard if not impossible for you to compare the prices with what you will pay at Snowberry on a like-for-like basis.
If you're comparing prices, you MIGHT look at what skis each shop is offering you, but how many people ever think about comparing what they are going to be getting in the way of boots?
We can't say it too often, your boots are without doubt the most important part of your ski equipment.
Does the shop properly fit their ski boots? The answer pretty much always will be "no". Sadly the industry standard these days seems to be to ask you your size, hand you a pair of boots and walk away. You might as well be buying a pair of trainers at Sports Direct!
We are unaware of any other shop the the world apart from Snowberry who fit rental boots methodically and correctly and use Superfeet orthotics – free of charge – in every boot.
So if you actually want to ski in a boot that enables you to enjoy and develop your skiing rather than in something that’s 2 sizes too big and limits your skiing to sliding sideways down the slopes usually in considerable discomfort then you should be very wary of cheap internet prices!
Then to make it even more complicated there's the question of the hidden costs and small print for other shops. Other shops charge you extra for courtesy transport to the shop (if they offer it at all), for the privilege of being allowed to change your skis if you don't like them or of having them serviced during your stay, for helmets for your children, for insurance against damage which in our opinion is wear and tear and our problem not yours or for the ability to leave your kit in the shop every night.
And that's BEFORE you start forking out 15 quid for that pole your child dropped off the lift or six or seven hundred euros or more for the four year old skis that went missing outside a mountain restaurant.
Suddenly a cheap deal doesn't seem that cheap any more!
At Snowberry our products and pricing are totally transparent. We tell you how old our skis are, we show you all our models, we call our equipment categories what they are (beginner to expert) and don't give them names that are just designed to confuse and we include everything you would expect and more at no additional cost.
Lastly, we have a pretty good idea of exactly what every other shop in town rents out, what they change for it, what they include and what they don't so if you have had a quote from another shop and it looks a lot cheaper than Snowberry, give us a shout and we will tell you what it compares to and what our charge would be.
If your budget's tight, you might not be able to stretch to our brand new Premium kit, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for cut price skis at other shops which can be five or more years old and way, way past their sell-by date.
Our economy skis are all guaranteed new last season, so they’re still only a year old and in great condition and give you the best of both worlds – top end, quality skis AND a huge 35% discount.
And while you do compromise a bit for the cheaper price, in most cases the kit you’ll rent is still way better than what you’ll end up with elsewhere.
Our Economy gear was all in our Premium range only a few months ago and as we service all of our kit properly and fully after every rental it’s still in great nick, a perfect option if you’re looking for quality kit and a hassle-free rental experience at a bargain price.
Please note that our ECONOMY range is a “web-only-special-offer” and is only available for advance bookings on www.snowberry-valdisere.com.
For all on-line bookings of Economy Gear we offer a 35% discount from our in-shop price – so it pays to book in advance. When you book we will select your gear and put it aside for you but you are of course welcome to change at any time.
For logistical reasons we can't guarantee model choice for bookings of Economy skis but if you do have a preference we will of course oblige if we can.
For the younger generation, our junior equipment covers everyone from children as young as maybe even 2 having their first experience of sliding around on snow to budding racers who have outskied Mum and Dad long ago!
Junior skis or boards are for children up to and including age 12. All of our junior packs include a certified safety helmet free of charge and we guarantee to supply one as well – other shops will charge you 15 to 20 euros on top of your hire for a helmet, and shrug their shoulders if they run out in a busy week
For all on-line bookings of Junior Gear we offer a 25% discount over our in-shop price – so it pays to book in advance. When you book we will select your gear and put it aside for you but you are of course welcome to change at any time.
The age and condition of your ski equipment is crucial not just to your enjoyment of your skiing, but to your ability to ski properly in the first place, so why do so many people put these factors right at the bottom of the list when deciding where to hire from?
Price is not and should not be the be-all-and-end-all, ski hire is not a commodity like a bag of sugar, what you are actually getting for your money should be what matters.
Holidaymakers are coming on a SKI holiday and will spend most of their time on the slopes yet they are still totally ignorant to the benefits of good new equipment, properly fitted and adjusted and to the downright dangers of renting old rubbish.
You've no doubt spent hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds on your holiday and you probably won't get time off to ski again until this time next year.
Isn't it worth getting the best skis you can get rather than tired, old gear that really should have been put in the bin years ago?
Modern skis will last about 20 weeks of hard use, rental skis possibly slightly less if they are serviced every week as they should be (though in many shops they're not).
Most skis in a rental shop will be actually rented out about half of the time once you take into account busy weeks and quiet weeks and shops carrying enough stock to be able to supply the right length/style/category for everyone and allow for midweek changes etc. So by the end of their second twenty week season, skis are starting to show their age. Cheap rental skis break down even more quickly.
At Snowberry you can choose from our Premium skis which are brand new for the current season or opt for a bargain price with the one year old Economy stuff. That's it, we don't rent anything older.
Unlike some places that are still renting out skis that are five or even ski years old and are downright dangerous!
It’s nothing to do with scratches on the topsheet – even brand new skis scratch up pretty quickly but that doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to their performance.
It shouldn’t be to do with the bases either – if the skis are properly maintained as all ours are, the bases should be reconditioned after every rental.
The differences are in the things you can't see.
The materials inside the core of the ski eventually break down, meaning an older ski is sloppier, less "poppy" and not as responsive. A newer ski is much more reactive and lively.
The camber breaks down and softens so it's no longer able to drive the ski into the snow, greatly reducing grip and feeling and meaning the ski vibrates and flaps around, especially on hard snow.
Also over time the edges become thinner and more rounded due to general wear and tear, rock damage and servicing and can't be got as sharp as when they were new, so the ski doesn't run as smoothly or grip as well.
The technical term in the trade is "a piece of wet spaghetti". Says it all, really!
Can you imagine hurtling down the slopes at 30 or 40 miles an hour when your binding comes off your ski? We'd certainly rather not think about it!
But we have - often - had people coming in to hire from us having originally rented from another shop only to be faced with the horror of their bindings pulling out on the mountain.
There are other safety issues with old bindings including worn heel pieces which give less surface area to hold the boot securely, missing AFD plates which prevent the boot toe releasing as easy as it should in a fall or springs which fail and so on.
Long before it gets to this stage, though, the binding pull-out issue is a much more common problem, and it's particularly an issue with the sort of cheap rental skis some of the low cost shops fill their racks with where the core disintegrates and there's nothing to hold the binding screws in.
Any or all of these can happen up the mountain, at best causing serious inconvenience if you're at the other end of the resort and at worst causing serious injury.
Why on earth would you risk this just to save a couple of pounds on your ski hire?
An awful lot of people seem to regard the boots as nothing more than some kind of accessory to the main thing, the skis.
Your ski boots are the most important part of your ski equipment, there's no argument about it. But nobody ever thinks about how old the boots are!
Older boots lose their rigidity over time, as the plastic is continuously flexed thousands of times every day it softens to the extent of eventually pretty much collapsing.
The liner breaks down and compacts and the layers of foam delaminate so far from having soft padding to protect you from the hard outer shell of the boot you just have a thin, floppy layer that doesn't protect you from anything at all.
And then the toe and heel pieces wear down with use. An awful lot of shops don't bother replacing them when they wear down - spare parts cost money! This is downright dangerous, even if the binding is functioning properly and safely it can't hold the boot properly if the toe and heel pieces are worn.
Whether it's your first ever time or you've been skiing ever since you can remember, we understand how important your ski holiday is, and how important it is to get the most suitable skis or boots so that you can make the most of it.
But what is the most suitable for one person is not the most suitable ski for everyone. Even within the same rough ability level, people have different skiing styles and preferences. You might love big fast swooping turns on groomed piste or prefer tight turns down the fall line. Maybe you spend every minute you can searching out untracked fresh snow, or you'd rather pound the gates. Maybe the conditions change during your stay or you just want to try something else, or maybe you would just rather have a blue ski than a red one.
Because of this we offer a huge range of both skis and boots – over 120 different models of skis and over 45 models of boots. This is incredibly important as it allows us to tailor our equipment to every single individual.
Our ski techs are passionate about their jobs so they'll take as long as it takes to talk you through the various ranges, work out exactly what it is you like and help you make the most suitable choice.
Even for beginners we have different options and choices, but our massive range really comes into it's own for skiers from good intermediate level upwards - there are 22 different models of those and no less than FIFTY THREE advanced/expert ones!
Other shops might - if you're lucky - have half a dozen or so choices to offer you, though the chances of many of them being new stock are pretty slim and once these are all out they're all out so you're left with Hobson's choice, no choice at all!
But as well as how MANY options they have, you also need to look at what the choices actually are. Plenty of shops rely on the fact that you don't know which skis are which, so they fill their advanced categories with cheap intermediate skis.
Or they buy in lookalikes that seem to be popular high end models to anyone who doesn't know better - you might not realize when someone hands you a Rossi Hero ST that it isn’t the proper high-end ski with the Titanium layers, but if you skied on the two you would soon see the difference!
This is pure dishonesty, designed to make you think you are renting a top ski at a cheap price. Don’t be fooled. At Snowberry you don’t get cheap imitations.
It's not just with skis that we are very particular to make sure we have something to suit everyone.
With boots, too, most shops will usually just carry a few models and generally the cheapest ones they can get away with at that - after all who really looks at what boots they're getting?
This is WRONG! Quite apart from getting the right actual size, there is an awful lot more to getting your boots right including the width, instep height, Achilles area, calf width, cuff height, flex and overall last.
In order to get the fit as good as possible, it's really important to select the model of boots that most closely follows the overall 3D shape of your foot and lower leg in all of these areas.
That's why we carry nearly FIFTY different models of adult boots, so no matter how "funny" your feet are we will have the boot to fit you.
When you pick up a rental car you assume it's been serviced so it's reliable, safe and fit to drive. Same thing with a pair of rental skis, right?
Or you might not even think it really matters, but whether - and how- your skis have been serviced before you rent them makes a big difference to how you ski and therefore how much fun you have on the slopes.
No matter how good a ski is to start with, if it’s not serviced regularly – and properly – it quickly becomes more or less unskiable and can ruin the whole week that you’ve been saving for and looking forward to since this time last year.
Unfortunately many skiers are unaware that there is a problem with the skis and it is not just ‘their skiing’.
STEP 1 Fill and repair the bases
STEP 2 The base is belt sanded and base edges are prepared
STEP 3 The side edges are sharpened
STEP 4 The base is then stone ground to prepare the base structure
STEP 5 The bases are waxed and conditioned
STEP 6 The final de-tune and de-burr
Your ski boots are the most complex piece of footwear you will ever own.
They are designed to hold your feet securely and comfortably and allow you to steer and control your skis as you hurtle down the mountain at the same sort of speeds you might drive your car at.
So it should be obvious how important it is that they fit properly. Poorly fitting boots lead to sloppy steering and lack of control of both direction and speed or cause crippling pain. With boots that are too big you can't feel the edge to control the ski and the instructions you send through the boot to the edge of the ski and on to the snow are massively diluted. It can even be dangerous as the lack of support and control leads to injury.
The long and the short of it is that if your boots don't fit properly you're never going to be able to ski properly, and the chances are you're going to hate it as well.
And yet it's estimated that possibly as many as 90% of skiers are skiing in boots that are unsuitable and badly fitted and well over half are in boots that are not even the right size to start with.
At Snowberry we see this all the time, whether it's with people who have always rented from other shops before and have never believed that ski boots don't have to hurt, or people who have spent time and money investing in their own boots only to find out they are sometimes as much as two or three sizes too big!
The thing is that to bootfit properly takes training and experience, plus a bit of passion for the trade thrown in to the equation too. It's one of those things that's passed down from one generation of bootfitters to the next and unfortunately it's becoming a bit of a dying art.
At Snowberry boots are one of our passions (call us crazy!) and our core of senior bootfitters are some of the last remaining maestros from the glory days of 20 or 30 years ago when people used to fly from London just for the weekend to have their new boots fitted by these guys.
But as the ski hire business (in fact the ski kit business in general) is becoming more and more commoditized, more and more shops are getting involved in a price and discount culture. The "supermarkets" don't care about customer service and don't have any technical staff to provide it and the few specialists that are left are being squeezed out.
Quite frankly it makes our blood boil when we see how badly some places deal with rental boots. We were horrified a few years ago when we visited the rental department of one of the best known ski shops in Val d'Isère and saw them asking clients their shoe size and handing them a pair of boots from the other side of a bench!
In nearly all shops these days it's all about getting you into the boots and out of the shop as fast as they can. So they buy wide boots that are easy to fit (otherwise known as "rental buckets") and then to make things even worse they more often than not put you into a size up as well.
Of course you don't know any better, the boot feels lovely and comfy (because your feet are literally swimming inside it) and you assume the shop are doing it right.
But you simply CANNOT ski in a boot that is too big for you. You can't control your direction or your speed, in fact you can't really do anything at all. Your feet will also be moving around all over the place inside the boot causing rubbing, blisters, bruised toes, shin bang and so on. It's no wonder that it's estimated that worldwide probably half of first time skiers give it up as a bad job and never try again!
The vast majority of people skiing in rental boots have probably never had a properly fitting and properly fitted boot and have no idea what ski boots are actually supposed to feel like or that they're NOT supposed to hurt!
At Snowberry our boot-fitting is legendary – because our background is from high end performance boot-fitting for people buying their own boots we have developed a process in rental that is as similar to this as is possible.
We fit every individual personally on a one-to-one basis, measuring and analyzing each foot before selecting the most suitable shell shape and then we personally fit the boot demonstrating how to put the boot on correctly.
STEP 1 we individually measure your feet
STEP 2 we analyse each foot for shape, volume and last using the Brannock System
STEP 3 we measure the width of your feet
STEP 4 we assess the height of your instep
STEP 5 we check your calf and Achilles area
STEP 6 we asses foot instability issues
STEP 7 we then choose a suitable model of boot for shape, size and volume
STEP 8 we personally put your boot on and help you clip your boots up
STEP 9 we check the fit and comfort
STEP 10 we will even customize OUR boots to fit YOUR feet
This process is totally unique and exclusive to Snowberry, and allows us to fit the correct boot in the correct size thus eliminating the classic problems with rental boots – far too big.
The correct boot will not only be far more comfortable, it will allow you to control your skis far better and thus develop and improve you skiing unimaginably.
We strongly believe in taking the time and trouble to do it right and have EIGHT fully trained members of staff doing nothing but fitting boots at peak periods, so no matter how busy it is you still get the personal and professional service needed to get your boots right.
At Snowberry we regularly have customers wanting to buy our rental boots or telling us they have skied in agony for 20 years, until now.
It is safe to say that every single skier, beginner to expert, needs some sort of sports orthotic in their ski boot.
The human foot is an extremely complex structure. It's dynamic in character and constantly changes its shape, volume, height and length as you weight and unweight it.
So how on earth are you supposed to fit this foot – with no fixed shape or length - into the fixed confines of a hard plastic ski boot without it being at best uncomfortable and at worst excruciatingly painful?
The easy answer is with difficulty! However, your bootfitter can limit this dynamic behavior of the foot by placing an orthotic underneath it, helping it maintain a constant shape and size.
Sounds simple but it works.
Skier orthotics support and stabilise your feet inside your boots, limiting the dynamic behavior – shape, length, height, volume change – and allowing us to choose a shell shape and length that closely resembles that of your foot.
Remember that every boot model has a slightly different shape so only certain models are suitable for certain feet.
Only by using an orthotic can we fit you in the correct shape and size of boot.
It is absolutely correct to say that you cannot fit a ski boot properly without first addressing foot instability issues.
The orthotic also has many other benefits relating to comfort and ultimately performance.
By supporting and stabilising the foot an orthotic will help to reduce foot movement in the boot which can cause rubbing and bruising. Blood flow is also improved resulting in warmer toes.
A supported foot has better contact with the boot and ski resulting in better feeling and control and it also improves body alignment - all of which lead to better performance.
If you have hired ski boots elsewhere in the past you may very well have experienced at least some of the following problems -
PROBLEM your foot moves inside your boot
PROBLEM you tend to over tighten the front clips of your boots
PROBLEM you sometimes suffer from cramping under the foot
PROBLEM your forefoot goes numb especially when skiing hard
PROBLEM you suffer from cold feet
PROBLEM you get rubbing on your inside ankle bone
PROBLEM your foot continually aches and hurts
PROBLEM you get bruising on your shin
PROBLEM your toes hit the ends of your boots
PROBLEM you find it hard to control your skis
PROBLEM your ski tips wobble when you travel straight
PROBLEM you find edging difficult
PROBLEM you’re getting blisters
PROBLEM you have a bunion
“Traditionally”, you walk or get the bus to your chosen ski shop then lug all the kit back to the chalet yourself after you’ve been fitted for it.
Then you lug it all back and forwards to the slopes every morning and evening and take it all back at he end.
Have you ever thought how much time and hassle that all involves? Maybe there is an easier way?
Well there is!
Our transport service means the shop round the corner from your hotel is no longer the most convenient place to hire from (if it ever was). We collect you from the chalet to bring you to the shop to be fitted so you literally walk out of your door and into ours.
Combine this with our overnight equipment storage service just across from the slopes and main lifts, next to all of the main bus stops and the most popular après ski spot in town and our end-of-stay equipment collection service for anything you do take back to the chalet. Why on earth would you rent from any other shop?
Just call our transport service on 0033 (0)6 16 28 50 08 when you're in your chalet and ready to come.
If you've skied in other resorts, particularly in the US, you maybe used to the convenience of an on-the-slopes ski storage facility.
Ski storage isn't really a French concept at all, especially here in Val d'Isère, so most people have to drag their kit to the lifts every morning and back to their hotel or chalet at night. Even if you’re staying in the centre of town, you’ll still face a longish uphill walk to the main lifts in the morning
Rent from Snowberry though and you are one of the lucky few! We offer overnight equipment storage to all clients renting from us and what's more it's totally free.
Once you’ve got your kit you can leave it all with us each night – we’re right next to the main lifts, bus stops and ski school meeting points. We're also next to the most popular après venue in town so why not dump your skis with us then you don't have to worry about them while you party?
Just jump on the bus in the morning, grab your kit and head across the road to the meeting places for all of the major ski schools and the main lifts to access every area of the resort.
Especially good for families with children, but (unsurprisingly) pretty popular with everybody.
Rent from any other shop in town and after you've finished skiing on your last day you have to head straight back to your accommodation to collect your street shoes, then walk or squeeze on the bus to get to the ski shop and stand in a huge queue of people as everyone returns their kit at the same time.
Rent from Snowberry and once you finish your last run you have plenty of time for as much après ski or shopping (or both!) as you want. Just take your kit back to your accommodation and we'll come and get it all and whisk it away as if by magic!
If you’re in one of the self-contained chalets we deal with every week, you don’t even need to call us, we’ll just come and get it all anyway.
Otherwise just give us a ring and we’ll send our drivers round.
If you're passing the shop on your way home and want to drop off your skis, but need to wear your boots back home, that's fine too - leave the skis and we'll come and get the boots.
Available all weekend or by appointment and subject to availability between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays.
Just call 0033 (0)6 16 28 50 08.
Unlike other shops, at Snowberry we accept that accidents happen and if we're going to rent skis out they're going to get damaged, so we don't make you pay for normal wear and tear.
You don't need to take out any damage insurance and you have nothing to pay if you accidentally damage the skis, even for a total write-off.
Check out the small print for other shops and sites though - if you have an accident some of them charge you more than the skis cost them to buy when they were new in the first place, sometimes for skis that are 5 or more years old. How is that fair?
And as for poles - well poles break all the time, it's no-one's fault. Yet pretty much every other shop in town will charge you more for ONE broken pole than the PAIR cost to buy.
All Snowberry rental includes free damage insurance, with no excess at all. You break our skis, we give you another pair. You break a pole, you get a new one.
Simple as that.
Watch out for cheap deals for children's skis that don’t look so cheap when you realize the helmet for your child isn’t included and you have to pay extra for that.
Even worse, whether you have to pay extra or not, what do you do when you arrive to collect your child's kit, ask for a helmet and are met with a 'Gallic shrug" and told there are none left?
Or there isn't a helmet small enough for your three year old, or big enough for your strapping 12 year old son?
Most shops only carry a small number of helmets in the most popular sizes and can run out pretty quickly in busy weeks. We have literally hundreds of helmets and we have NEVER failed to supply a helmet for a child renting equipment from us.
Don't compromise on your child's safety!
This is one of those things you don't think about at all until the worst happens and you have to bring your kit back earlier than you had expected to.
Maybe you're ill or have injured yourself or you have a sick or injured child and have to stay with them. You've decided to buy yourself your own skis or boots during your trip. Maybe there's a crisis back home and you have to cut your holiday short.
Or maybe the weather's not great or you've just discovered you'd actually rather be doing something else. So you take the kit back to the shop, and assume they will refund you for the unused period.
Unfortunately, very often you are sadly mistaken. Plenty of shops just refuse point blank to give you any of the price back. Others might refund you but only if you have a doctor's certificate and only for the person who is actually ill or injured, not for a parent looking after a sick child. And often they charge you an "admin fee" which means it's not really worth your while bothering asking for a refund at all.
Of course there's no justification at all for any of this, it's just a way for unscrupulous shops to make as much money as they can. And it's not right.
Rent from Snowberry and no matter why you bring the kit back early, we will refund you from the point of return of the equipment. On the spot. In the shop.
Your skis are fully and freshly serviced before you collect them, but you're welcome to bring them in any time during your week for us to freshen up again so they're good as new.
When you collect your skis at the beginning of your stay they will have come straight out of our workshop.
During your holiday though (and especially if you're lucky enough to have more than just the "normal" 6 day stay), you might feel they could do with a bit of a tune-up to keep them running sweetly.
This is especially likely to be the case if there's not an awful lot of snow or if the conditions are very hard or rocky.
Just bring your skis in to us after skiing and we'll have them ready for you to collect before first lifts the next morning.
Fair exchange is no robbery - or at least it shouldn't be! Change your kit as often as you like at Snowberry at no extra cost. Of course.
We were shocked when we did a bit of research recently and discovered that other shops here in Val d’Isere are charging people up to 40 euros for the privilege of being allowed to change their skis!
As far as we’re concerned, it’s part of the service so rent from us and you can change as often as you like within the same price point for NOT ONE PENNY MORE!
Whether you don't really like the first skis or just want to try something different or maybe even test as many models as you like with a view to buying your own skis, feel free.